Following the collapse of the plan to have an NI assembly with Sinn Fein's inclusion (a bridge too far for the Unionists) the British security forces have cranked up the anti-Nationalist propaganda in ways reminiscent of the war. Accusations that the IRA have broken the ceasefire are regular.
However, my reading is that the British still have hopes of keeping the Adams-McGuinness SF leadership on side. (I read one story, that made me think I was dreaming, that Adams would meet the Queen at the Millennium Dome party - a scenario that seems straight out of Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius novels.) More prosaically, senior Brit politician Chris Patten's proposals for reform of the sectarian RUC are awaited, and the Bloody Sunday enquiry, despite hitches, is still creaking along towards a full hearing. British pressure on the Unionists die hards to clean up their act is still current.
It is pointed that sources outside of the loyalist parties maintain that the threat is 'extremist republicans' - ie not Adams' SF, but the 'fundamentalists'. The anniversary of the Omagh bomb led to much vilification of the Republican splinter groups responsible. Opposition to the failed peace process is being criminalised as 'extreme republicanism' and the results are this latest RUC violence. -- Jim heartfield